Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Getting Started with Your Daily Writing Workshop

A new school year is an opportunity for new resolutions. This year, resolve to dedicate a daily block of instructional time to the teaching, practice, and process of writing. Voices across the field continually tell us that best practices in the teaching of writing include the following:

·         Daily workshop environment
·         Process-oriented writing experiences
·         Explicit skill instruction / Mini-lessons
·         Literature models
·         Self-selected topics
·         Teaching meaning, purpose and audience
Whether you are learning to play an instrument, or learning to read and write,
daily practice is essential. When we give our students only prompted writing experiences on a periodic basis, we are asking them to be writers without giving them the foundation to become writers. Writing is both a developmental process and a discipline rich with skills and concepts. We need to guide our students’ development with authentic writing experiences, providing explicit instruction and practice in the skills and concepts necessary for them to become writers. What are the building blocks of the daily writing workshop?

30-45 minutes of dedicated instructional time per day, including:
·         10-15 minute mini-lesson
·         15-20 minutes of writing/application
·         5-10 minutes of response/sharing

A systematic curriculum of writing craft, conventions, and writing process essentials. These are the skills explicitly taught in the mini-lessons.

Literature models that demonstrate the meaningful use of writing craft skills within the context of well-written works.

Authentic purposes for writing: real-world, genre-specific themes that provide springboards for teacher models and student compositions.

A community of writers taught to take risks with creativity, share their work graciously, and provide support for one another.

As you plan for the new school year, consider the genres, skills, and processes you will include in your writing curriculum. Plan your day with a block of time dedicated to writing, and figure out a schedule for delivering this curriculum to your students. Above all, create an environment where students can become writers. This year, resolve to institute a daily writing workshop in your classroom.

Not sure how? Feel free to ask me here,
Susan Koehler


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